Once upon a time, there was a triangular lake, who’s three shorelines each formed the border of one of three neighboring kingdoms, their histories steeped in bitter intertwined rivalry.
The first kingdom was rich and powerful, filled with wealthy, prosperous people.
The second was humbler, but still held its fair share of wealth and power.
The third kingdom was struggling and poor. It barely had an army to rally, after years of being on the back foot in comparison.
During a particularly tense political conflict, the kingdoms eventually dissolved their longstanding treaty that prevented any kingdom from claiming the lake for themselves, and went to war over control of the lake, which would grant the victor a significant strategic advantage, not to mention a valuable source of resources through which to prosper.
The first kingdom sent 100 of its finest knights, clad in the best armour, each with their own personal squire.
The second kingdom sent 50 knights, with fine leather armour, and a few dozen squires of their own.
The third kingdom sent their one and only knight, an elderly warrior who had long since passed his prime, with his own personal squire.
The night before the big battle, the knights in the first kingdom drank decadent imported liquors, and partied into the late hours of the night.
The knights in the second kingdom weren’t as well off, but had brought an ample supply of their kingdom’s renowned locally brewed mead, which also afforded them the opportunity to drink well into the night.
In the third camp, there was no such revelry. With just two members in their “army”, they had been forced to only bring the essentials, having to carry everything themselves, not that the kingdom had much in the way of decent alcohol to offer their hero’s in the first place. Stoicly, the faithful squire unwound a rope and swung it over the branch of a tall tree, making a noose, from which he hung a pot. He diligently filled the pot with the scraps of food they had brought, preparing a simple stew, before dishing it up and serving the old knight, then sitting down to join him for a humble dinner. Neither said it out loud, but both knew this was almost certainly their last meal.
The next morning, the knights in the first two kingdoms were hungover and unable to fight, while the elderly, frail knight in the third kingdom had suffered the cold winds blowing in from the lake. Weary, his joints aching, he was unable to stand, and despite his best efforts, the squire was unable to improve the knights condition by the time the horn bellowed, signifying the start of the battle.
In place of the knights, the squires from all three kingdoms picked up their weapons and began to fight.
The battle lasted long into the night, but by the time the dust settled, only one squire was left standing – the squire from the third kingdom.
And it just goes to show you that the squire of the high pot and noose is equal to the sum of the squires of the other two sides.